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Builders, Financial Service Companies Partnering to Stimulate Regional Economy

Written by Peter L. Mosca on Tuesday, 05 May 2009 7:00 pm

Challenging economic times call for new ideas; solutions and a commitment to helping communities solve their current problems and move ahead financially positioned for the future. In Wyomissing, Pennsylvania two diverse, yet intertwined companies are pooling their resources to meet the needs of the people they serve. VIST Financial Corp. recently announced it has created an initiative to offer low-interest mortgages to qualified homebuyers who purchase new homes with local homebuilders who are clients of VIST. The initiative will be offered through the company's mortgage division, VIST Mortgage.

"With this type of impact being the bedrock of any financial recovery, we hope other banks in the region and across the country will create similar programs to aid their communities as well," said Robert Davis, President & Chief Executive Officer of VIST Financial.

Under the "Community Builder" initiative, the bank has committed up to $40 million available to offer 30-year fixed rate mortgages at 3.99 percent APR to credit-worthy borrowers purchasing primary residences. VIST officials cited a report by the National Association of Home Builders which estimates the immediate and ongoing impact of home building and home sales could mean as much as $245 million in income, taxes, and wages as well as the creation of more than 1300 jobs over the next seven years.

"We are fortunate to be able to work with such a great group of builders who want to provide new homes to their customers in an economic environment which has delayed the dream of home ownership for many in our region," added Ron Rohrbach, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of Berks County, who shared Davis' enthusiasm for the program. "They, like VIST, understand the importance homeowners play in creating and maintaining stable neighborhoods and healthy communities." The plan grew from a portion of the funds the bank accepted from the Federal government's investment under the Capital Purchase Program, in which the Federal government invests in solid, well-capitalized financial institutions in exchange for Preferred Shares of company stock. Davis is quick to point out the difference between the CPP and the bailouts of larger institutions.

“The investment the government made in VIST Financial wasn't necessary to provide a bailout as it was with many of the larger institutions that dominate the news coverage," explained Davis. "Rather, the government shares our belief that a sustainable recovery in the housing and credit sectors will come not from these enormous institutions, but from the community lenders like VIST. This is an outstanding program that will put the taxpayers' investment to work in visible ways." “Programs like the Community Builder are important for every community in that not only does it help people realize the dream of home ownership but it also drives other factors important to our local economies, such as consumer spending, job creation, and expanded tax bases," said R. Stanley Schuck, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce.

The $40 million dollar Community Builder was announced at a press conference held at VIST Financial's corporate headquarters with company officials being joined by the Home Builders Association, Berks and Main Line Chambers, and state and local officials. Responding to a question about the program's timeframe, Davis noted that the Community Builder could be extended depending on how quickly the public takes advantage of the $40 million, which could lead to more than 200 home sales.

Participating builders include: Greth Homes, GG&F Construction, Pine Brook Construction, Grande Construction, Summer Hill Building & Contracting, Inc., New Vision Builder Inc., Heidelberg Custom Builders, DiBiase Construction Inc., Casa Bella Builders, D'Arcangelo Builders, Inc., Alexaki Construction, DeSantis Development, Shaffer Group, Judd Builders and Squire Home Builders.

VIST and the local builders of Wyomissing are examples of what an America, one that works together to help the citizens of its community, can accomplish when political squabbles and indifferences are set aside for the betterment of those who need it most.

[Note: VIST Financial is a diversified financial services company with headquarters in Wyomissing and Blue Bell, PA, offering banking, insurance, investments, and wealth management services throughout Berks, Southern Schuylkill, Montgomery, Delaware, and Philadelphia Counties.]/I>

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